Welcome to The Fordyce Letter:

The Fordyce Letter

Straight Talk for the Recruiting Profession


For Managers

Business, For Managers

Success Is In the Numbers. But Which Ones?



Dart board - free

Dart board - freeWe all have heard and most believe, “Knowing your numbers is critical in this business.” Also known as metrics, what are the most important metrics to follow? Tough question since all are important and all build upon each other. Without the desk-builder metrics of job order and candidate presentations there would be no sendouts, and without sendouts there would be no placements.

As a double bred numbers guy (CPA and banker) I have lived my life believing and analyzing numbers. After eight years as owner of an executive search firm — $8,570,487 in collections, 300,982 attempted calls, 33,523 SMP connects, 1,640 first time sendouts, 313 placements, and more falloffs than I want to remember — I am now more than ever convinced the numbers in our business never lie.

For Managers, Motivation

Good Leaders Are Made, Not Born



Demanding Boss

TeamLeadWhy won’t my employees just do what I tell them?

Why am I struggling to motivate my team?

Why aren’t they giving me the performance I need?

If any of these questions sound familiar to you, you’re not alone.

You were probably promoted because you’re a competent technical professional. You know how to build a bridge, negotiate a deal, or justify a capital expenditure. But whether you’re a team leader or a branch manager, your technical skills usually won’t help you be a better leader.

Effective leadership has an undeniable business value. In one study, Jack Zenger and colleagues (“How Extraordinary Leaders Double Profits”) examined the best (top 10%) and worst (bottom 10%) leaders at a large commercial bank. On average, the worst leaders’ departments experienced net losses of $1.2 million, while the best leaders boasted profits of $4.5 million.

Ask Barb, For Managers

Manage a Problem Top Producer Or It Will Get Worse



Ask Barb

Dear Barb:

I have a top producer in my office who has worked for me for over 10 years and she represents 37% of our revenue. She is causing major problems in my office. She comes in late, sets her own rules and has even brought other employees to tears. I can’t afford to lose her, but I dread coming in to my own office every day. I know I’m going to lose other employees if I don’t manage her, but I don’t know where to start. I would appreciate any advice you could provide.

Susan H.

Mariettta, Georgia

Barb Responds

Dear Susan:

I think most owners reading this have probably had a similar experience – myself

Fees, For Managers, The Business of Recruiting

A Practical Guide to Collections Invoicing



Collections chart

Collections chartYou’ve done all the work. Sent the invoice. Celebrated. Spent the money. And you run to the post office daily hoping you didn’t spend the money too soon. Sound familiar?

After collecting in excess of $8 million over the last 6 years, I’m happy to say I have only had to go to court once in a collection proceeding. We won with a jury trial that lasted over four days.

When I was a bank president I went through many collection activities. In fact, at one point I had to go through the collection of a $5 million indirect car loan portfolio. This was due to a rogue lender, which resulted in hundreds of repossessed vehicles. Collections are a necessary evil in all industries. Here are some ideas that I have applied to the search business.

Business, For Managers, The Business of Recruiting

Are You Wasting Your Sales Team?



Leads sign with sales

Leads sign with salesAll steps of the sales process are important; from identifying prospects to closing deals. However, most businesses spend lots of time refining and managing the latter stages (closing, etc.), but put limited thought into earlier stages (lead generation). Since lead generation fuels all other sales stages, a thoughtful approach to the function can have a huge impact on a company’s ability to sell.

Who is responsible for lead generation in your agency or firm?

Ask Barb, For Managers

Offer Solutions to Combat Negativity



Ask Barb

Dear Barb:

Please give me some advice on how to approach my owner about a situation that is getting worse. I’ve been a recruiter for a little over a year and I’m now the top producer in our office. I work with people who have 10-plus years of experience but don’t make 10 calls a day. All they do is talk about why people are not hiring and how our candidates are all impossible. It’s getting harder and harder for me to tune them out. I question why my owner just doesn’t fire people who are not producing. You always say our owners are in business to make profits, well three of our employees haven’t done that for months and they are still here.

When I tried to say something before to her, she told me to focus on my own desk and not on other employees. I don’t want to quit, but I can’t stand the negativity of my co-workers. If they’d quit complaining and pick up their phone, things could be so much better. As an owner, I’m hoping you can tell me what approach to use.

Frustrated in LA

Barb Responds

Dear Frustrated:

I appreciate the fact that you obviously care about your employer and realize you have co-workers who are not adding to her bottom line. If one of my recruiters approached me and said, “I have some ideas that could increase profits,” they would definitely have my undivided attention. Your opinion is also more valuable because you are currently the top producer in your firm.

Ask Barb, For Managers

Great Producer, Poor Manager Now What?



Ask Barb

Dear Barb:

I promoted my top producer to a management role in my company and he’s not working out. He doesn’t want to mentor, train or provide assistance, yet he loves getting a 5% override on everyone under him. I can’t afford to lose his production which represents 35% of our total revenue. How do I demote, but retain him? I discussed this with you at the Fordyce Forum and you strongly suggested this would be a mistake. Why didn’t I listen to your advice?

Frank C.

Dallas, TX

Ask Barb, For Managers

The Three Things Every Owner Must Do To Be Successful



Ask Barb

Dear Barb:

I have owned my recruiting firm for almost a year and have yet to make a profit. Before I opened my business, I was always referring my friends to people I knew and they got hired. I’m finding this profession is more difficult than I had anticipated. I have enjoyed reading your common sense answers in your column. What three pieces of advice you would provide to a new business owner?

Steven F.

Cincinnati, OH

For Managers, The Business of Recruiting

Your Big Placement Just Blew Up. Your Biggest Biller Just Quit. Now What?



Recruiter U logo

You have just spent the last seven weeks doing an in-depth search; provided a short list of outstanding candidates; were persistent with your client to drive the process forward; acted as a therapist to your finalist candidate; and, he gets an offer and accepts the position. CONGRATULATIONS!

Fast forward two weeks later. You come into the office the Monday morning your candidate is supposed to start. There is a voicemail from him time stamped 4:45 am (he KNEW I wouldn’t be at my desk that early!) which starts: “Mike, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I really need to do what’s best for my family. I won’t be showing up at XYZ Software today…” We’ve all received that call, several times, no matter how good we are.

Next situation, you as a recruiting firm owner, have tried to do everything right to retain your best billing recruiters. You have a training program, benefits, 401K, aggressive compensation plan, company trips, personal concierges, etc. One day (probably the same day as the fall-off above) one of your biggest billers walks in your office closes the door and says “We need to talk.”

Business Development, Cold Calling, For Managers

“How do I win your business?” Not By Doing What Everyone Else Does



Try me marketing on billboard

Note: Matt Lowney will be speaking at the upcoming Fordyce Forum 2013. His session So You Want to Sell to Me? Here’s How to Do It will offer firm owners and leaders a look at what it takes to get a client’s business and how best to connect with new clients in today’s highly competitive world. Register now at Fordyce Forum 2013.

“How do I win your business?” It seems like a simple enough request, but ultimately it’s a process that most recruiting agencies do not handle well.

In June I will be speaking on this very topic at the Fordyce Forum in Dallas – winning and keeping business from the perspective of the client. As someone who has utilized every variation of third party recruiter, I know they can add tremendous value, but there are three key areas that agencies should focus on improving to make the vendor-client relationship less tenuous. Let me be clear, this is not a beat-up-the-vendor topic. I want to focus on raising the bar across the board for all recruiting professionals.